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Taxi drivers' plight leaves passengers out in the cold


10:17, January 16, 2013


BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- A parking lot in downtown Beijing is packed with vacant taxis and idle drivers, despite complaints about the city having too few cabs.

The cab drivers take naps, read the news, smoke cigarettes and chat with each other. But at the same time, passengers across the city can be seen desperately waving their hands in a futile attempt to hail a cab.

"The roads are too congested. If we get caught in a traffic jam, the fare wouldn't even be enough to cover the cost of gasoline," a driver surnamed Zhang said.

Zhang and more than 300 other cabbies regularly park their vehicles at this particular lot during rush hour to dodge passengers. The practice became more popular after municipal authorities started penalizing cabbies who refuse to take their passengers to the destinations they require.

In other Chinese cities, taxi drivers have also gotten flack for their service -- or rather, their lack thereof.

In Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi province, taxi drivers have reportedly refused to take passengers unless they pay an amount of money greater than the officially established fare.

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